SKOWHEGAN — When police knocked on the door Monday evening at Indian Ridge Apartments, it was answered by a man with a knife in his hand who challenged officers to shoot him.

Skowhegan Police Chief Don Bolduc said the encounter could have ended at that moment with the use of deadly force by police. Instead, officers defused the situation. Mykel Rollins, 28, was subdued with a Taser stun gun, arrested and taken to jail.

“This is one of the many instances where Maine law enforcement avoids using deadly force in an instance where it would clearly be justified,” Bolduc said in a news release Tuesday. He said that availability of the Taser and teamwork by the officers led to Rollins being arrested “without anybody suffering any injury.”

While Bolduc’s comments come amid a national discussion about the use of excessive force by police in the wake of several high-profile police shootings as well as shootings of police, he said in an interview Tuesday he would have made the comments “now, a year ago, or probably a year from now.”

He also tempered his news release comment about deadly force being “clearly justified,” saying the use of the Taser was justified and that the use of deadly force “could have been justified if he would have approached the officers to try and stab them.

“I want to make it very clear that if the situation had gone a little bit differently, we could have used deadly force on him, but instead, we were able to use the Taser,” Bolduc added.


Rollins was arrested around 5 p.m. Monday on a charge of domestic violence criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon, a Class B felony, after police responded to a report that he was threatening his brother with a knife at the apartment on Indian Ridge Road.

The knife had a serrated blade about 10 to 12 inches long and was the type that might be used to cut a loaf of bread, Detective Sgt. Joshua King said Tuesday.

When officers knocked on the door of Rollins’ apartment, he answered, holding the knife, and challenged officers to shoot him, said King, who was at the scene Monday along with another detective and two officers. He and Bolduc didn’t specify who the other officers were.

Rollins allegedly also made threats to other people at the residence about killing them or cutting them up and was waving the knife at officers. King said Rollins did not make threats to officers, but he refused to put the knife down when asked several times, King said.

When the Taser was used on Rollins, he dropped the knife, police said.

Bolduc said Monday’s encounter, as well as one over the weekend in Skowhegan in which a man allegedly tried to grab an officer’s gun while resisting arrest, illustrate how important it is for people to comply with police instructions.


“The use of deadly force is a very serious issue,” Bolduc said. “I don’t want people to take it lightly and I want them to know that we don’t either, especially in light of everything that’s going on around the nation.”

Deadly force is justified if an officer feels he or she is at risk of being severely injured or killed, or that someone else is, according to Bolduc and King.

A 2011 investigation by the Portland Press Herald/ Maine Sunday Telegram found that nearly half of people shot by Maine police since 2000 had mental health problems and the vast majority of Maine’s 3,500 officers lacked crisis intervention training to defuse deadly conflicts.

The Maine Attorney General’s Office investigates all police shootings and has never found one to be unjustified.

Bolduc said while his comments weren’t based on recent national events involving police shootings, “I’ve been at this 26 or 27 years and there’s definitely been a change in the overall respect for police officers nationwide.”

According to The Washington Post, 984 people were shot dead by police in 2015, including two in Maine. Of those, 782 were armed with a deadly weapon, though the database doesn’t specify what the weapon was. In 2016, 541 have been shot and killed by police.

According to the FBI, police rarely use deadly force in cases involving knives. Of more than 2,200 justifiable homicides reported nationwide between 2010 and 2014, just three involved knives, while the vast majority involved firearms, according to FBI data.

“It’s not just having a knife in their pocket,” King said. “But if they’re brandishing it at us and it’s in close proximity where it’s reasonable for them to have an opportunity to cut us, then yeah, a knife is a deadly weapon and that’s how we’re going to meet that threat, is with deadly force – unless we have the opportunity and the manpower to do it this way that we did (Monday).”

Rollins does not have a criminal history in Skowhegan. Both Bolduc and King said Tuesday that they are not sure what sparked the incident Monday. Rollins was evaluated at Redington-Fairview General Hospital before bring taken to the Somerset County Jail. Bail hasn’t yet been set. Additional charges are likely pending review by the Somerset County District Attorney’s Office, the news release said.

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